Squad news


30 Nov 2014
Tough exam for Deportivo’s defense, the only sector that has been working within the last four games. Diakité is set to start as the aerial game of Atlético is threating Víctor Fernández’s team.

There are several stats to illustrate the difficulty of this task for Deportivo. The first one is the positive streak of Atlético playing at the Calderón stadium. Los Rojiblancos are currently holding the longest unbeatable home streak among the clubs at Primera; they have spent 25 home meetings without been defeated (20 victories & 5 draws). The last club that beat Atlético on the road was FC Barcelona (1-2, May 12, 2013).

Besides, Deportivo have always suffered during the visits to Atlético. The Galicians only added 5 wins in 44 visits to the Madrilenian outfit and are dragging a negative mark of eight straight league defeats at the Calderón, meetings in which they only scored three goals ending scoreless in six opportunities (including the last three).

The last time Depor defeated Atlético on the road was during the season 1999/2000 (1-3).  Another thing to notice is that the Galicians have lost the last five meetings with the Madrilenians and they were even unable to score a single goal in those meetings. The last time Deportivo defeated Atlético was at the Riazor during the season 2009/10 (2-1, Nov 21, 2010) with goals scored by Colotto and Guardado. Lopo & Manuel Pablo are the only survivors from the team that played that game.

The true is that the negative streak of Depor visiting Atlético can be extended to all the Madrilenian teams. And it’s that Los Blanquiazules have lost the last eight Primera meetings visiting four clubs from the capital (Getafe CF, Rayo Vallecano, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid). On those eight games Deportivo only scored 5 times and allowed 31 goals. The last time Depor won a Primera game in Madrid was on the season 2009/10: 0-2 at Getafe CF (Nov 07, 2009).

Flat season for Depor so far. The defense was considered as one of the weaknesses, mainly after the devastating loss before Real Madrid (2-8) and the pale impression visiting Sevilla CF (4-1), but lately the team has improved a lot defending the goal, to the point that it has clinched three clean sheets within the last four games. The Galicians only allowed two goals in the period, which is the third best record in la liga, only behind Athletic Club and RC Celta (both one goal allowed in the last four games).

But now they face a tough task that should demonstrate how real is the improvement made in defense. And it’s that Atlético Madrid is the fourth best scorer in la liga and is dragging a positive mark of sixteen official games at least scoring once. Actually, they only ended scoreless in one of the nineteen official games they played so far on this season, the only time they were unable to score was in the opening matchday in liga (0-0 at Rayo Vallecano).

Centre-back Pablo Insua was commenting the importance for Depor about not conceding goals, “It is important to us to be strong defensively and to only allow a few goals. In the end we still in the fight; neither we have the potential to score a lot of goals, so we must focus our efforts in not allowing goals and then seize the occasions that we could have.”

In order to continue showing this defensive strength coach Víctor Fernández is ready to repeat the 5-3-2 scheme of the past game with Real Sociedad. The novelty is the presence of Modibo Diakité replacing suspended Albert Lopo. The Frenchman is making his second appearance of the season, his previous game was the 2-8 setback hosting Real Madrid (September 20).

Fabricio Agosto is the goalkeeper, Juanfran Moreno covers the right side of the defense, Luisinho performs on the left, while the central positions are for Diakité, Pablo Insua and Sidnei Rechel.

There’s another novelty at midfield, Juan Dominguez is dropped as Cezary Wilk enters into contention, the Polish changed the game against Real Sociedad as brought the needed balance and now the coach allows his presence alongside José Rodríguez and Haris Medunjanin at midfield. Then Iván Cavaleiro and Hélder Postiga are the attackers in the scheme.

Roberto Canella is back into the roster after surpassing a muscle problem. The only two players staying at the injury room are winger Lucas Pérez and playmaker Luis Fariña, the latter completed part of the training session on Saturday and should be back on next week. Right-back Diego Seoane, winger Diogo Salomão and playmaker Juan Carlos weren’t picked due to tactical reasons.

Medunjanin was talking of the difficulty of the meeting, ”We enter a tough phase, but must go out in order to win, because it’s the only thing we can do. Of course Atlético will be tough, they know how to play and each one has in their heads what they must do. This is a level that we haven’t reached yet. That’s why each side is where it is right now. Of course their squad is better, but this is football and we have to fight. Later anything can happen in a corner or free-kick.”

Finally, Toché was remembering that Atlético was the club that allowed his debut at Primera, “It’s a game that I see with a lot of hope, because I spent a lot of years at that home. I left when I was 15 and lived many positive things there. I’m satisfied for debuting at Atlético.”

List of picked players (19): Lux, Fabricio (goalkeeper); Laure, Manuel Pablo, Insua, Sidnei, Diakité, Juanfran, Canella, Luisinho (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Dominguez, José Rodríguez, Medunjanin, Wilk, Cuenca (midfielders); Postiga, Cavaleiro & Toché (attackers).

There were many doubts on how Atlético Madrid were going to perform on the season after the many changes completed during the transfer window, the side of Diego Simeone lasted a little in settling up, but currently the Madrilenians already reached the top three positions. And a large part of this has to do with their aerial power.

And it’s that Atlético have scored twenty-three goals in La Liga this season, and fourteen of those goals have been through headers. It means an astonishing 61% of the total.  Also to notice their high reliability in set-pieces, after all they have netted fourteen goals in corners/free-kicks and another one from the penalty spot.

With the team already qualified to the next round in the UEFA Champions League, Simeone can now focus in the league and leave the Copa and the last game in the biggest European tournament in the continent for the players with less minutes. In this sense it’s expected a strong side to face Depor.

The only expected change at the 4-2-3-1 lineup that has been playing recently is the presence at midfield of Mario Suárez replacing suspended captain Gabi. Majorcan Miguel Ángel Moyá has earned the starting spot at the goal and is one of the three players at the squad that has played all the possible minutes in liga.

The second player that has completed all the minutes is Uruguayan  Diego Godín, who will be joined by another Uruguayan, José María Giménez, at the centre of the defense. The 19-year-old defender was pretended by Depor during the summer and is currently covering the absence of injured João Miranda. Juanfran Torres performs at the right side of the defense and the left flank is for Argentine Cristian Ansaldi.

Portuguese Tiago Mendes recovered on time from the muscle problem picked in midweek during the Champions League’s clash and will start in the game; he’s joined by Mario Suárez at the centre of midfield.

Raúl García attacks from the right wing, Koke Resurrección does it from the left, Arda Turan is the playmaker and Mario Mandžukić is the centre forward. Croatian Mandžukić is coming after scoring a hat-trick in Champions League and is also the top-scorer of the team in liga (5). Also to emphasize that 22-year-old Koké is the best assistor in liga (8).

Defender Cristian Ansaldi was describing the game as a final for Atlético, “Now Depor are arriving and we know that it is a final. We must keep winning, especially at home, because normally we become very strong there.”

List of picked players (18): Moyá, Oblak (goalkeepers), Godín, Ansaldi, Gámez, Juanfran, Giménez (defenders); Mario Suárez, Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Arda Turan, Saúl, Cristian Rodríguez (midfielders), Cerci, Griezmann, - Mandžukić & Raúl Jiménez (attackers)

Atlético Madrid: (4-2-3-1) Moyá – Juanfran, Godín, Giménez, Ansaldi – Tiago, Mario Suárez – Raúl García, Arda Turan, Koke - Mandžukić
Deportivo: (5-3-2) Fabricio – Juanfran, Insua, Diakité, Sidnei, Luisinho – José Rodríguez, Wilk, Medunjanin – Cavaleiro, Postiga.
Referee: José Antonio Teixeira Vitienes
Kick-off: 12h00 CET (Vicente Calderón stadium)
Head-to-head Vs. Atletico: 26 wins for Depor, 18 draws, 44 wins for Atletico (Primera & Segunda)
Record in Madrid: 5 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 33 wins for Atletico (Primera & Segunda)



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